ROW80 Week 12 and Round 2 Wrap-Up

For this, the final week of ROW80 Round 2 (linky), my only progress was 1000 words of writing on Conkers. That wasn’t enough to finish the arc I’d planned for this round, but it did end one story thread — while starting another, but still.

In retrospect, my goal for Conkers might never have been achievable; the scenes grew in the telling, and I’ve decided to insert a whole extra plotline before I get to the point I was originally aiming for.

If I didn’t meet my goal for focus, I balanced it with word count. I wrote 25,000 words this round: 1,500 more than last round, and an average of over 2000 words per week. This was about half on Conkers and sonnets, and half on other material (other WIP’s, research, dreams, etc.).

Reflection, which I only managed in six of the twelve weeks, was balanced out by reading. If Worm is allowed to count, I’ve read a total of 11 books over less than 12 weeks.

What does this mean for my goals next round?

I’ve certainly done more this round, but it’s been spread across arguably lazier things: reading, and writing things that don’t have to be part of a story.

If I’m serious about improving my writing, maybe I need more specific goals. Quality over quantity!

The same could be applied to my reading goals. While I do want to keep reading novels, I’d also like to finish a few of the books I’m reading for research. Again, a more precise focus may be in order.

All this “more precise focus” is sounding like a lot of work, but I suppose that’s necessary if I really want to learn to write.

And do I really want to? I don’t know.

That’s something I need to sort out by the start of the next round. :-)

Fear Not!

In cities floating free upon the seas;
In ruins, long abandoned to the crows;
Amongst the elves, who live atop the trees;
I've fought the monsters every culture knows.

My mission stands: to slay each thing of fear,
That even fear itself must learn to die.
To truly say, "There are no monsters here."
If children can demand that, so will I.

I've wandered far beyond familiar lands;
Against my foes diverse, I've strived and won.
There's blood of every colour on my hands,
And one last bullet ready for my gun.

In slaying fears, I've earned a fearsome name;
One final death will end that final shame.

ROW80 Week 11: Inching Closer

For the first time since reading Worm, I’ve neatly met all my ROW80 (linky) goals this week.

I wrote another 900 words since Wednesday: two sonnets, and the rest half stream-of-consciousness stuff reacting to Super Crunchers, and half notes on setting for Conkers. That puts me at 2,100 for this week — quite sufficient to make up for the lost writing last week.

I also read The Great Gatsby, for the second time. Re-reading it with knowledge of the ending let me spot a lot of foreshadowing that I’d previously missed. I was also impressed by the way F. Scott Fitzgerald uses imagery: there are some very vivid metaphors used to describe scenes in the book.

I need to keep that in mind for some of the supernatural things in Conkers, which aren’t very easy to describe literally. Although I’d probably need less visual metaphors for that.

My goals also include writing Conkers and reflection, of course; but both of those are covered by things I’ve already posted.

Good luck and happy writing!

Reflection (Week 10)

This week, I’m reflecting on the scene I wrote for Conkers on Tuesday.

Having read the Not to Be post on The Daily Prompt this week, I started out by looking for passive voice and other weak verbs I could remove. I didn’t find much I could change (although I did ignore dialogue), but I still felt the scene was lacking some punch.

I suspect a characterisation issue. Most of the scene is a character not quite explaining what she wants, but when she finally does, there’s no significance to it. She leaves the scene having achieved nothing, but somehow still completely calm and confident. The other character doesn’t attempt to encourage her to talk, either.

I’m also a bit concerned about Mary-Sueism. I imagine the narrator of the scene is involved in plenty of shady dealings, but that completely failed to come up. I probably should have given him something to hide, so he couldn’t just sit back and ignore the situation.

The general problem is that I’m not remembering the different characters’ personalities. I’m not sure what specific techniques I can use to remedy that. My best idea is to give them leitmotifs — pick a particular tune for each of them, to listen to when I’m writing that character; I’m sure there must be other techniques, though.

ROW80 Week 10.5: Refocusing

I’m making this Wednesday update to catch up after missing Sunday’s. (linky)

My grand plan for Week 10 was to finish two books, so that I could count Worm as one and not actually be behind in my reading. I did in fact finish both Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Jane Austen’s Lady Susan.

However, I fell behind in my writing, managing only 1,200 words. It was all the kind of writing I set out to do, though: about 100 words were from the sonnet I posted last Monday, and the other 1100 were all on Conkers.
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ROW80 Week 9: Proceeding by Halves

Another ROW80 update (linky).

Once again, I kept up with half my goals last week. I didn’t do reflection, and I didn’t make any progress on Conkers, but I did achieve my word-count and reading quotas.

I wrote a total of about 1800 words, of varying quality: 990 words recording a dream, 450 re-writing the background from last week, and one sonnet; I also did around 300 words on half-finished poems. None of those seemed finished enough to do reflection on, although I could have probably reflected on my edits to the background stuff.

The book I read was Robbery Under Arms, by Rolf Boldrewood. Unlike in Dracula or Worm, it didn’t create suspense by having the characters constantly in danger. Having their plans mostly successful made for a less gripping story, but also a less depressing one.

Also unlike those stories, Robbery Under Arms makes a point of having a moral. That gets a bit annoying at times, and rather dampened my enjoyment of the book.

In retrospect, however, I think pushing the moral may have been necessary to build up the otherwise-lacking suspense. It meant the problem in the story wasn’t to survive, but to live within the law; and having all the characters’ plans succeed actually made that harder.

Good luck and happy writing!

Minions At Work

We've come to claim the crown of ancient kings,
In chapel hid until the heir is born.
We Undead have no need for crowns and rings;
Bring out the gold, and peaceful we'll be gone.

But should you stall until an army comes,
Or should you try to say we have no claim,
The pipes of death will sound; we'll beat the drums
And towns destroy, and see you take the blame.

If we are harmed, don't think you won't escape!
Our plans are now in many ways afoot.
When spirits dark own throne and ermine cape,
Detractors in their places shall be put.

What's that you say? The chapel's down the road?
We shall reward the aid you've just bestowed.

Today’s Daily Prompt asked for poems about “LOST”.

Weekly Photo Challenge (The Sign Says) (Also a sonnet)

The Daily Post has a challenge about photos of signs for this week, so I decided to post a sonnet illustrated with a sign.

How much I hope I have an evil soul,
To tread the roads that demons' tales teach,
To sometimes tell a lie, or play a role;
To wander where my conscience will not preach.

Instead, I've laboured long to be a foe:
To scorn the law and friends mistreat was hard.
In darkness sunk, I vainly fear to grow
The loathing on the lips of every bard.

The snake refused to look me in the eye.
For me, all goblin armies ran in rout;
The buckets drawn from brimstone wells were dry.
ALL HOPE ABANDON even threw me out!

Someday I'll find a minion who'll obey;
Then they, and all the world, my price will pay.

"THIS IS NOT GOODBYE" while exiting sliding doors

It’s not really a very funny or interesting sign, but it does work nicely with an evil sonnet.